Saturday, December 15, 2012

This weekend’s guest: Sharon A. Crawford

Our guest this weekend is Sharon A. Crawford, a Crime Writers of Canada member, who is also Writer in Residence for the Canadian Authors Association, Toronto branch and runs the East End Writers’ Group. Her debut mystery short story collection Beyond the Tripping Point was published by Blue Denim Press, October 2012. She is currently working on a prequel novel to four linked short stories in Beyond the Tripping Point. Thanks for joining us, Sharon!

_______________

What’s in a Name?


We authors sometimes face crises in choosing character names and titles for our short stories and novels. Sure, some of my characters in my short story collection Beyond the Tripping Point went through a few first-name changes, but it wasn’t a big deal. Story titles seemed to arrive out of the blue and fit. The book’s title Beyond the Tripping Point “arrived” with some brainstorming and it worked – my publisher loved it. My big name crisis was my actual name.

What the heck was I going to write under?

It seems I’ve been having a writer identity crisis for years. For my newspaper and magazine non-fiction articles I’ve always used “Sharon Crawford.” No problem there. But do you know how many “Sharon Crawfords” exist who are writers? Just check out the name per se, on Amazon. I did and until I lassoed my book to my “correct” name, this Sharon Crawford was just one of too many.

For previous fiction published, my name has been all over the identity map. For some short stories I was “S.A. Langevin” (my maiden name) and others, “Sharon Langevin Crawford.” I also co-authored a novella and my co-author and I combined our last names (in my case the “Langevin” one). I won’t even mention the horrible concoction we came up with but will just say if you co-author a book, use both your author names as two names.

The editor at my publishing company and I had a long phone discussion about my name. At first I wanted to honour the name I was born with and also include the name I use as a journalist, plus avoid the “Sharon Crawford” stew. That meant the “Sharon Langevin Crawford” one. He would have nothing to do with it and presented a good case for Sharon A. Crawford. I had to brand myself, he said and adding the “A.” gave my name more class. Think James A. Michener as opposed to just “James Michener,” he reasoned. After much to-ing and fro-ing on the subject I agreed with him. Sharon A. Crawford it was and is – for two reasons.

One of those other Sharon Crawfords is also an editor and author but her published books are about computers. I have occasionally received email from people wanting help with Windows. Me? You don’t want me messing around with your computer.

The other reason is my second name is “Anne” and even Canada Revenue Agency has me down as “Sharon A. Crawford.” So Sharon A. Crawford it is. I’m legit.

Check out my blog about Beyond the Tripping Point and the craft of fiction writing www.sharonacrawfordauthor.com

_______________

Visit Sharon at www.samcraw.com, her blog at www.sharonacrawfordauthor.com, or her Facebook page www.facebook.com/pages/Sharon-A-Crawford/412730865439394.

2 comments:

Lloyd Lofthouse said...

I agree. For an author, name recognition is important especially once he or she has thousands or millions of readers then the author's name ends up printed much larger than the title of a novel.

As for naming the characters in the stories I write, I refer to "Character Naming Sourcebook" published by Writer's Digest.

And the last time I checked, I was the only Lloyd Lofthouse in the US. There are other Lofthouses but none that I know of with Lloyd plastered in front of the surname.

In addition, adding the "A" to your name does make it look as if you may be literary royalty. Hmm, I have several middle names. I wonder which one would work best for me. My dad was drunk the day I was born and got carried away.

Lloyd F.

or

Lloyd V.

or

Lloyd J.

or leave out the middle initial?

http://www.onlychildwrites.wordpress.com said...

Hey Lloyd:

Middle initial or not for your byline - depends on what it is. "A" seems to work. I like "J" so it would work but I also like Lloyd Lofthouse. I think I lean a bit towards using the "J" because it adds that little bit of added distinctiveness.

My late father had many middle names. Wonder if his father was drunk when my dad was born.

Cheers.

Sharon A.